Thank you for sticking around to read all about my nostalgia!
The countries and cities I visited:
- St. Gilbert
- Czech Republic
This will be my last installment of my first trip to Europe and it will be about my other ten day trip that I took while studying abroad.
I went with two other girls on this trip and we were having a hard time determining if we wanted to go to the UK or to Scandinavia. After much deliberation we decided on Scandinavia because it was somewhere none of the students from previous years had gone and it just seemed like a fun place to go.
We planned out our trip and these are the places we went:
Our original plan for Copenhagen was to stay for a night and immediately leave to Sweden the next day, and stay for another night on the way back, but with more time to explore the city. On the first half of the trip we ended up getting really lost and unable to find our hostel, wandering around some suburb area for almost an hour. Eventually a nice man, who barely spoke English, let us borrow his smartphone to use Google Maps to let us find our hostel because the map we got from the information center didn’t have that area of town on it.
As soon as we got to the hostel we promptly fell asleep and didn’t really do much after that.
On our second half of the trip, however, we went to this awesome amusement park called Tivoli Gardens and rode on the rides all night. Then ate at some pizza buffet afterwards because it was cheap and we were broke.
I will also admit, I had at least two hot chocolates a day throughout our trip. The hot chocolate is awesome and worth it.
After Copenhagen our next stop was in Stockholm. Once we arrived, we walked around our hostel for a little while and found a church that had an orchestra playing music. It was free to get in, so we joined and watched. After a long day of travel it was really relaxing to listen to and a great way to be introduced to the city.
The next day we were walking through the city, trying to decide what to do. We went through this beautiful park where the leaves had already been falling off the trees. It was an Autumn wonderland, especially for someone who is from Texas and the leaves don’t really fall off in such beautiful colors. The other bright side was I found some money on the ground and used it to buy treats for my friends after a long day.
We really wanted to go to the ABBA museum, but we were hesitant just because it was kind of expensive for our budget. Instead we went to the Vasa Museum, which was spectacular.
Side note: getting into museums, at least for me, was awesome because a lot of the museums throughout Europe had a discount for people aged 19. Everyone else I was with was 20 and older, so I ended up getting a lot of discounts which helped me save a lot of money.
Back to the Vasa museum: I never heard of the Vasa before our trip here. It was really interesting to learn and see how huge this ship was. The story is a little giggle-worthy as well, but this was definitely a great exhibit with a lot to learn about.
After being in Stockholm, we stopped for a day in Gothenburg before heading to Bergen just so the train ride wouldn’t be as terrible. From what I recall, we didn’t really do much but walk around the city. I remember going to this really big candy store and getting super excited because I’m a child with a gigantic sweet tooth.
If I had to pick a favorite place out of all the places we went to while in Scandinavia, I would pick Bergen, hands down.
When most people think of going to Norway, they tend to think of Oslo, or some far north places where you can see the northern lights. I found Bergen while looking for places to stay in Norway and we decided to stay there. And man, that was a good choice.
Bergen is a smaller city, but still has a lot to offer. They have several museums, but we were only able to go to one just because of the awkward times they were open. We went at a weird part of the year where places where only open for a couple hours a day. Regardless, the museum we did go to was incredible and had a wonderful exhibit.
In Bergen there is also a lift that takes you to the top of Mt. Fløyen where there is a spectacular view of the town.
I also went running at the top of the mountain and it looked like something out of a fantasy novel. I thought trolls were going to come out and greet me at certain parts.
Lastly, we went on a fjord cruise which was absolutely beautiful. I am a huge fan of mountains and lakes, and the fjords were such a good compromise of that. It was cold, quiet, and breath-taking. The fjords were the second most beautiful, natural wonder I saw while in Europe. We even were able to catch water from a waterfall and drink it. It tasted crisp and fresh. And you get soaked while trying to catch the water, but the hypothermia is worth it.
Overall, my first trip to Europe was definitely one to remember. I made some friends, memories, and learned a lot about myself while there. It also instilled in me this newfound desire to travel the world. I had already received a small taste of what wonders are out there for me to see and I just wanted to see more.
Looking back, I would also try and do more things and not worry so much about spending money. Given my circumstances I had a little bit more freedom with my money than other people might have when they go to Europe, but honestly, if you can swing it, you should go for it.
Lastly, if you are going to study abroad for a semester in Europe and you have a wonderful opportunity to go to several places, take advantage of anything and everything there. Eat everything you can get your hands on, talk to locals, talk to tourists, go to that museum that sounds kind of boring, do a pub crawl. Even if it seems boring or weird or a little expensive, I promise you it’s going to be worth it because you don’t get chances like this often.
I hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane and hopefully more will be coming soon!